Normalization

I know that this is far from an original thought during the pandemic, with all of the ways, large and small, that we’ve been required to adapt to the rapidly shifting circumstances. 

But yesterday, my perspective shifted a bit and I realized, this has become, well, normal. At least normal for now. It’s normal for me to have my mental list of “things I need to take if I’m going to the store / going on a walk / etc.” And for that list to automatically include “mask”, well, let’s just say that it obviously wasn’t that way this time last year. 

It hit me yesterday when I was talking to my second mother. I asked what travel plans they’d canceled (too numerous to list; they’re retired and love to travel [and have the means]), and somehow we got around to people who have stayed with them in the past 6 months. That included a couple who came from Florida, en route to a northern destination. My 2nd mom said something along the lines of “Well, we asked them to wear their masks in the house, and we kept the windows open even though the air conditioning was on.” And it hit me… that it was completely normal to me that she asked them to keep their masks on. 

I mentioned to her that I’m likely not going back to the office for at least a calendar year, and again, that’s now, well, normal. 

I am perpetually behind on reading others’ blogs, and one thing that’s been really interesting is reading pandemic-related posts a few weeks after they went up. The hardest ones to read were the ones from May, when states were reopening and things looked, well, reasonable. Until it all went south (as, honestly, I anticipated it would) in June. Everyone was so hopeful – looking forward to “getting back to the way things were”. And I think, as we’ve all realized, that just isn’t going to happen. 

Adaptation to change is part of being human. If you don’t adapt in some way to changing circumstances, you’re not going to get very far. Evolution. Societal shifts. Changes in the political leadership of our country (although, honestly, I haven’t normalized the person currently in the White House, I find that I have normalized the insanity that emanates from there on a daily basis…). Sometimes this happens so subtly that we don’t realize it’s happening. I think what hit me this weekend was how quickly we had to accept the way things are now had to be. 

Anyway, like I said, not an original thought, but it is fascinating to see how it plays out in life. 

“There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

2 thoughts on “Normalization

  1. I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately as well. This is (and has been for months now) the new normal. I feel like it is important to accept it and find new ways to enjoy the year because it's too long of a time to "shutdown" a whole life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it's always fun to read!

  2. Jessie, thanks so much! I think acceptance is really the only way forward. Things will never be how they "were". Even if we can resume more aspects of our lives before, there have been major societal shifts in work, school, and major social movements. Going forward is really the only option! (And for me, that means a return to the regularly scheduled work meetings that take a hiatus over the summer…sigh…I'd happily give up some of those! ;>)
    Take care – I love your blog, even if I rarely comment (read every post).

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